Culture secretary

Historic tower faces demolition as new Culture Secretary withdraws list status


New Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries removed the status as a listed industrial monument, allowing it to be demolished after campaigners believed it had been saved.

Just a week after Historic England granted Teesside Dorman Long Tower Grade II status, it was withdrawn on appeal, meaning the 1955 concrete structure can be flattened.

Tees Valley Conservative Mayor Ben Houchen said the removal of the tower, an example of brutalist architecture, will allow major redevelopment projects at the former Redcar steelworks site to proceed unimpeded.

Just last Friday, Historic England granted the tower Grade II Listed status – a decision Mr Houchen called a mistake.

The approval of our appeal was the first decision of the new Secretary of State, it shows how important the successful redevelopment of the former Redcar steelworks is for all members of government.

The mayor held meetings over the weekend to challenge the listing status and an appeal was lodged with Historic England on Sunday evening, with the request also sent to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and sports.

The mayor said his team’s appeal has now been successful and demolition can take place in the coming weeks.

He said if the appeal had not been successful, it would have cost over £9million to maintain the structure, only for it to eventually be demolished for safety reasons due to its poor condition.

Mr Houchen said: “Following the filing of an appeal on Sunday September 12, I can now confirm that Historic England and the new Secretary of State have de-listed Dorman Long Tower.

“The approval of our appeal was the first decision of the new Secretary of State, it shows how important the successful redevelopment of the former Redcar steelworks is to everyone in government.

“This overturns the decision on her being placed in Grade II taken after a request from local activists which, if allowed to stand, would have cost the taxpayer over £9million.

“It is money that would not be spent on job creation, the NHS, transport and other important services.

“Worse than that, it would have cost thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds of investment that we were trying – and still trying – to bring to the site where Dorman Long Tower now stands.

“Historic England accepted the listing was a mistake, it was made by a junior officer who accepted the listing without ever seeing the structure itself.

“The application that was made was inaccurate, incomplete and misleading and would have jeopardized progress and jobs.

“I would like to send a message to those who think that trying to stop these developments is the right thing to do – our legacy does not lie in a decaying coal bunker, our legacy lies in the people who built this great region. .”

Vince Smith, a Redcar and Cleveland Council freelancer, has expressed anger over the loss of the ‘symbolic’ piece of industrial heritage.

Initial plans for the extensive redevelopment of the steelworks site called for the tower to reflect its past, he said.

He added that the mayor is wrong to suggest that those in favor of saving the tower are against redevelopment and jobs.

“The two are not mutually exclusive, and what he says goes against their own original plans,” Mr. Smith said.

Sue Jeffrey, a Labor member of the same council, said the demolition of the tower shows a lack of imagination.

She blamed the mayor for referring to a confidential tower report that has not been made public.

“There may be some major issues with the tower, that should be a conversation they have with the locals,” she said.